Thursday, June 30, 2011

New quilt: Tufted Tweets minimalist

Pav & Mr. Pav got married in November. As soon as they announced their wedding (via the most amazing hand-embroidered save-the-date that I have ever seen), I knew I would be making them a quilt.

I originally saw Tufted Tweets out there in blogland back at the end of last summer. The now-defunct birthday club at work gave me the (gently suggested and much ooh-ed and ahh-ed over) fat quarter set from Seamstar. Um, yes, I'll take one of everything, please.

I was really inspired by the colors in Tufted Tweets (especially while snacking on peanut m&ms, obviously), and after consultations with Pav decided on a really minimalist quilt. I picked up 2m of white fabric and 2m of grey (a darker grey than I had in mind, but it was all they had). All nicely laid out.

I planned it out on paper and got sewing. And then, at the end of January, after Pav & Mr. Pav had been to visit, I had this. Please pardon the picture. But, UGH. I was so disappointed that my Excellent Quilt Idea had become a horrible grey prison-bars looking thing. Into the WIP pile you go, sad quilt.

Flash forward to a very sunny day (in March, by the look of the garden), when I said to myself, "Self, your lovely newlywed friends are not going to be newlyweds much longer. FINISH the quilt. Also, they live in Australia where it is very sunny and bright all the time, not in dark, Januaryish England." Right, then.

A little sun on the quilt did it (and me) good, I think. I "demoted" Evil Grey side (which I now love, of course) to the back, and attempted to brighten things up a bit with a new front. Below, in the sandwich stage.

Then, we added a the famous orange binding, which was sped along very nicely by watching Season 6 of Lost (FINALLY, and yes, we liked it).

And here it is, the finished "front," although it's truly reversible - the only front/back differentiation came when I had to decide which side to machine-stich the binding to, and which side to hand-sew.

Thanks to the Husband for the (matching) Quilt Feet.

Use it in good health, Pavs!

I had to riff on the hand-embroidered invitation with a little embroidery shoutout of my own. Obviously.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Recipe: Raspberry Oat Traybake

Again, with the baking. Since on the hottest day of the year so far what I really needed to do was turn on the oven. Oh, least it was only for 10 minutes. And the results were definitely worth it.

Butter and honey, melting.

Raspberries, pre-squashing.



It was delicious - the almond flavour really came through and the raspberries were really zingy. Might add some lemon juice next time, or possibly some vanilla with the almond extract.

Go make it!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Review: The Sweetness At The Bottom of The Pie

Walked the Race for Life today (you can still donate, in the sidebar!), and we even ran the last 300m. It was a really great day - quite a bit of emotion with people's signs, lots of money raised, and zillions of pink garments.

The brownie below was good, but it's not why I've posted a picture of it. I think the color combo (blue, white, cream, and brown) is one of my all-time favorites. Looking around the living room, the color scheme is echoed in here, although another blue accent or two wouldn't go amiss.

These came home with me, as expected. Unfortunately, I then acquired two very super-duper blisters (which I will spare you the photo of). Going to have to do some breaking-in, methinks.

We made fajitas for supper tonight - I think that the fresh coriander (along with homemade guac) is the key.

I finished The Sweetness At The Bottom Of The Pie, by Alan Bradley, on Friday evening. It was recommended to me by a few people within the space of a week, and we decided to read it for book group. I thought the mystery was good, the plot zipped right along, the chemistry-interludes were endearing, and the protagonist (an 11-year-old, pigtailed detective) was adorable. My only problem was that I had trouble not setting the novel in my brain's stock-stately-pile, currently home to several Persephone books, a few Kate Morton books, and a few other interludes. I think I need to allocate a new house in my brain for stately homes, since it's getting rather full in there!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Race for Life

I'm joining the Race for Life with some work colleagues this Sunday. The original plan was to run it, but life (and the fact that I just really hate running) got in the way. So I will be walking, briskly. I feel like running is something that I should love, but I really don't.

You can click on the Sponsor Me button over on the right, or you can visit this page:

Thank you - every pound (or dollar) makes a difference!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

First raspberries

I finished The Postmistress today - I liked the writing and found the descriptions very vivid, especially London during the Blitz. The storyline was a little predictable, though. I think the atmosphere of the book will stay with me for a while, while the characters and plot fade.

I tried to start W.G. Sebald's The Rings Of Saturn after reading about it in the New York Times (it's "set" in Suffolk), but I read the first chapter and completely lost interest. I have been known to ramble randomly, but I didn't put it in a book. NEXT!

Raspberries, below, from the garden. Yum. Oh, and I have managed to find an Ingrid Michaelson album that I like - I have downloaded Everybody and it is on semi-repeat. She's like Kate Rusby in that her voice falls in a similar range to mine and her songs are quite melodic, so she is very lovely to sing along to.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

It must be summer

The only reason these green Birkenstocks didn't come home with me then and there is because the shop was closed. I may not be able to resist if they're open.

This morning's breakfast (along with blueberry pancakes and little sausages):

It's cloudy, cool, and might rain later. Must be (English) summer!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Review: What The Dog Saw

Through some miracle of synchronicity, my mom and I both read Malcolm Gladwell's What The Dog Saw at the same time. And both said to each other, "Hey, I'm reading a great book - you should read it!"

Malcolm Gladwell is a columnist for The New Yorker, which I've always found too highbrow for me. I guess I like my magazine reading pretty light - Wired articles are about as long-form as I get. The book is a collection of essays, all previously published in TNY, none of which I had ever read.  They are all quite thought-provoking, mostly challenging standard reactions and conventional wisdom.

I don't normally read a non-fiction (and I rarely read essay compilations) but What The Dog Saw is thought provoking, well-written, and entertaining!

And look what they had, in packs of 6, on special at Waitrose. My Favorite Soda EVER. That doesn't really seem like soda because it's just fizzy water with lemons. Right? Ok, and some sugar and other stuff. Mmmm. I might have bought a second six-pack because the first one is all gone.

Monday, June 6, 2011

More sewing (and future sewing)

My favorite 2-year-old LOVES Eric Carle books. So when I saw this fabric at Quilter's Haven, it had to come home with me. It will meet the popover sundress from Oliver + S and all will be right with the world. I haven't started yet because I ran out of white thread when I was quilting The Now Un-Stalled Wedding Quilt (yay for quilting! boo for running out of thread!). Of course I ran out at 4:30 on Saturday afternoon, making it entirely impossible to get more thread on Sunday without driving all the way to Norwich. Oh well.

We were invited to a garden lunch on Sunday, so I used some of the seed-head print fabric from the now web-only Karlsson Design and made a teatowel to bring as a little hostess present along with our bottle of wine. Swedish linen fabric, cotton thread and LOTS of ironing and pinning resulted in a teatowel that I would have happily paid £20 for in a department store. [Pats self on back.] I'm definitely going to have to make some napkins and more teatowels, as originally planned.

The quilt is coming along - I've put the binding on most of it, and have about 3 more minutes' worth of free-motion quilting once I get more thread. Then I just have to stitch the binding to the back and into the post! The recipient is taking a blog-break so I could probably post pictures in relative safety, but it won't be long until it's all ready to go.

One note about the ads on the sidebar. Yes, I sold your eyeballs. No, it wasn't to The Man. I think I've made $0.04 so far since I added them. It's mostly so I can be part of the excellent BlogHer community and reviewing program. Woot!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Cooking in Provence (or Rhode Island)

I've been meaning to post this picture for ages. When we met Delia, the entire morning was spent learning to cook with Alex Mackay. His recipes are excellent - we make his version of piri-piri sauce all the time now, and my mom was so inspired that she bought his new cookbook, Cooking In Provence. He signed it for her, of course, and she took it home to Rhode Island to splatter it with olive oil and tomatoes (and cook from it).

She and my dad made one of the recipes from the demo-day - a really fresh-tasting seafood stew. They used local clams from RI and pronounced it excellent.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Fabric update

Thank you, internets. It seems that admitting to the world (and Gnomemade - thanks, K!) that I needed to work on the quilt has done the trick. I've now finished the back (which I LOVE and I think might be promoted to "front"). I just need to email my choir buddy the dimensions (she owns Quilting Solutions and has lots of great wadding/batting) to get some warm & white batting, since a Flickr search for "natural batting + white quilt" led to a whole big pile of "DON'T DO IT!"

And then on with the quilting and the (orange - squeee!) binding and into the post.

For your crafty pleasure, here is some (unrelated) V&A Liberty fabric that I picked up last time I was in town. The V&A? And Liberty? Together? With fabric? Oh, my.